Let’s get this party started.
This is the week pitchers and catchers should report for Spring Training, the time when the Texas Rangers still have a chance, should being the operative word. We’re in the middle of a lockout and neither the players association nor the owners seem to be in a big hurry to come to an agreement of some sort. Even mediation has been declined.
This is also the week Mardi Gras kicks off in Galveston!
Yes, we have Mardi Gras and it’s a pretty big deal. Galveston turns gold, green and purple: gold stands for power, green for faith, and purple for justice. Islanders are in the spirit, decorate their homes, cars, golf carts, anything that will be still long enough to place beads.
While Mardi Gras in New Orleans is more well known, Mardi Gras in Galveston is older, second only to the celebration held in Mobile, Alabama, and is the third largest in the United States.
For the record: In 1840, “the Galveston City Company founder, Michel Menard, hosted the first masquerade ball on the island, most probably, as a housewarming. On March 26, 1856, history was made as the first Mardi Gras ball in Galveston was held at the house. Galveston’s first official, citywide celebration of Mardi Gras came in 1871.”
After WWII, Mardi Gras took a break here on the island, but was back in full force in 1985 and hadn’t missed a year until 2021, when COVID made a mess of things. Not to be outdone by New Orleans, rather than street parades Galveston had house parades.
Our Mardi Gras doesn’t compare in size to New Orleans. There are huge galas in the weeks leading up to the start 10 days before Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras Galveston opens with the Funky Uptown Umbrella Parade, which held a place the Guinness Book of World Records. Data collected from the event in 2012, by official notaries and record keepers, showed that approximately 1,503 participants broke the world record by dancing the Hokey Pokey with a decorated umbrella for five minutes. The weekend parades run the gamut from golf carts to firetrucks to pet parades, along with the elaborate night parades along our seawall. Zydeco music fills the air, king cake fills our bellies.
Trailer Swift and Sabine Pleasure are a part of a krewe, the Krewe of Saints. Their float is beautiful, looks like stained glass, but on closer inspection you’ll see the images really shouldn’t be in a church window.
Goosey Lucy loves the parades and has mastered “hey, mister! Throw me some beads!” While she loves the floats and bands, her favorite thing is the disco bus, a converted school bus blaring dance music – it’s sponsored by a local funeral home.
And then poof!
The revelry is gone and Lent takes its place.
In the meantime, it’s Mardi Gras, y’all!
Laissez les bons temps rouler!